As more companies establish bandwidth limits on their broadband Internet offerings like Comcast just did with its 250GB cap beginning October 1st, it’s becoming even more clear that there isn’t enough competition in the industry. Competition would encourage innovation to provide for customer demand for additional bandwidth, rather than forcibly cutting them off.
At least in the United States, many consumers have two options: cable or DSL. Satellite is also available in many areas but it suffers from high prices and bad latency (which makes gaming almost impossible). Comcast insists that “less than 1 percent of Comcast users will be affected by the limit, [but] customers who go over the 250G-byte cap will not automatically be warned, depending on whether they are in that top 1 percent,” according to PC World.
That’s not a comforting thought, the idea that you could be surfing along one day and all of a sudden see “Page cannot be displayed . . . ” Many people rely on Internet access for their livelihood, maybe they’ll have to apply for business accounts now to continue as they are.
It brings Google’s white space campaign into sharp focus, which seeks to provide Internet access by broadcasting signal through spectrum available between TV channels. It looks a lot more promising — and necessary — in light of Comcast’s behavior and other players who are considering the same browbeating tactic.
For people who download video content from places like Amazon Unbox or Netflix, this could become particularly concerning as their accounts will register higher usage rights. At high quality, movies could eat up bandwidth space very quickly. But then, maybe that’s the point Comcast is making, that neither content providers nor end consumers could enjoy the Internet without a rock solid ISP.
Push back against it, demand something better rather than acquiesce to the corporate mongrels, express yourself on Google’s Free the Airwaves campaign site and let Comcast know you won’t stand for bandwidth caps.